New York Rangers: 40 games, 0 goals, 5 points, 119 hits, 9:38 ATOI
St. Louis Blues: 26 games, 8 goals, 18 points, 106 hits, 14:39 ATOI
Okay, this one is hard to explain. Sammy Blais played 54 games for New York without scoring a goal and notching nine assists. Returned to the Blues in the Vladimir Tarasenko deal, he has lit the lamp, scoring eight goals and 18 points in 26 games. Inexplicable.
Not so inexplicable actually. First off, Blais is finally getting healthy and appears fully recovered from his knee injury. It was clear that he was not 100% when this season started and there was no room for him to get the playing time he needed to round his game into shape.
Also, with the Blues, he has played mostly on a top-six line with Brayden Schenn and Brandon Saad and is averaging a full five minutes more playing time per game than he did in New York. It’s also important that he was able to finally score his first goal in two seasons and that had to give him the confidence he needed. Not only that, but it happened in his first game back with the Blues.
It’s sad that Ranger fans were never able to see the Sammy Blais we thought we had traded for before last season. We can thank a slew foot from P.K. Subban for that. In a very savvy move, Blues GM Doug Armstrong signed Blais to a one-year extension for $1 million for next season. If he continues to play like this, it will be a steal.
Next up, an enforcer who fulfilled a role in his first season with the team, but became a luxury the Rangers couldn’t afford.